Boost for addiction support welcomed

Posted on: Wednesday, 03 May 2017

Turning Point has welcomed a significant boost to Victoria’s addiction support services announced in the State Budget.

Among the funding initiatives is an increase in phone and web based support for people who are unwilling or unable to access face-to-face services.

Turning Point Director Prof Dan Lubman welcomed the State Government’s announcement.

“As a leading provider of addiction support, including the State Government’s 24/7 1800 ICE ADVICE and DirectLine services, Turning Point applauds this important funding initiative. 

“We look forward to working with the State Government to develop their approach to addiction.”

As well as 1800 ICE ADVICE and DirectLine, Turning Point also operates the Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service, and the web-based service Counselling Online as part of its diverse range of telephone and online support services.

Prof Lubman said research revealed despite the personal costs of alcohol and drug problems, less than a quarter of those in need seek professional help. 

“This is due to a range of barriers such as pride, stigma, geography, service operating hours and wait lists.  Such barriers can significantly delay the time to first treatment contact, with some individuals waiting over a decade before they engage in treatment.”

Prof Lubman said similar to other areas of health, a key element in overcoming such barriers and to facilitate earlier help-seeking is to offer interventions that are delivered via more flexible methods, including availability outside of business hours and across all geographic locations. 

“Telephone and online-delivered interventions have been found to be ideal in this regard, particularly as they also address issues of stigma, which are considerable in the area of addiction.”
 
Prof Lubman said Turning Point welcomed other addiction support related initiatives in the State Budget including an expansion of services for people during transition and additional alcohol and drug rehabilitation beds.

“An all community approach involving government, health bodies, law enforcement and even local residents and businesses is required to tackle addiction. Development of clear pathways will be critical in tackling the size of the problem and we applaud the action taken by the Andrews' government in the Budget announcements.”

Turning Point-operated phone services DirectLine (1800 888 236) and 1800 ICE ADVICE (1800 423 238) as well as Web-based service Counselling Online (www.counsellingonline.org.au) are provided by staff with professional qualifications and experience in alcohol and drug counselling and treatment. They are free services, and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.